In today’s Gospel, Jesus plainly directs us to open our eyes, look around and see the signs of the Kingdom of God. "Look around you, open your eyes and see the buds of the fig tree bursting with life; then you will know the Kingdom of God is near." Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you where the nearest fig tree is in relation to my own backyard!
However, as I sit here in a hospital waiting room while my wife undergoes a routine test, I can see the signs of the Kingdom! I see and hear numerous acts of kindness and community.
I overhear a woman saying "I hate to have you go through all of this, is there anything I can do?" I hear a lengthy conversation among three women admiring a piece of knitting. They warmly congratulate the knitter and share stories of their common creative efforts. I hear a woman bonding with a man regarding the "signs of the political times" saying "we’ve seen this before, do you ever get that feeling?" Then some stories are shared regarding the oncoming winter rigors of shoveling snow. In all these conversations the distance between our chairs and each other in the waiting room diminishes, decreasing with each moment of laughter, caring and community.
Each person is separate but we are all joined together. The beautiful diversity confirms our unity in the Kingdom of God. The moments are joined into a celebration characterized by mindfulness, intentionality and compassion. Then the summary moment in time arrives; a woman jumps out of her chair, moving toward a man coming from the testing area with a smile, a hug, and a sweet greeting; "There he is!" In one instance we can all see the love between them. The love is real, palpable and a moving sign of the Kingdom of God.
And I am reminded, "Look around you Terry, open your eyes and see the Kingdom of God!" Today I pray we all have many such moments.
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.